The Long Road to Here by Ernest Sittenfeld

A few months ago, while on my morning walk along our Park Shore beach walk, I noticed some people doing a survey in front of one the fine luxury condominium buildings, The Mozart. I asked the members of the surveying crew why they were surveying the property, but no one could give me a good answer.

I tried to get more information by calling City Hall, but to no avail. The County was equally unhelpful.

By now, I was getting more and more curious, so I contacted someone at the County who told me that something super-secret was going on, on condition that I would not quote her. She said, “Call the Treasury Department in Washington”.

Super-secret? In Naples? Have you ever tried calling someone in Washington, hoping to get information?

I did call someone I know in the State Department, and he confirmed that the Treasury was involved in some kind of deal regarding Naples and the Chinese.

After much digging and sleuthing, I found out that indeed, the whole thing had to do with The Mozart. It seems that one of the Chinese billionaires, through his government, requested that he be allowed to build a structure on Park Shore Beach, which he once visited and fell in love with.

Because the Chinese government holds trillions of dollars in our obligations, the Treasury Department agreed to allow the structure to be built. It took them quite some time and lobbying with the State of Florida, Collier County and City of Naples, but in the end everyone had to agree, for the sake of our country.

The Mozart will be demolished. In its place will be built a 110 story tower designed by a top European architect who is to be selected in a contest. The tower will have 30 stories of hotel rooms and suites, 40 stories of offices and 40 stories of condominium residences. The hotel will be used exclusively by tourists from China. The offices will be occupied by the Chinese billionaire’s companies and perhaps some other Chinese companies. The 40 stories of condominiums will be sold ONLY to Chinese nationals. Thus, the project will be a Chinese enclave on Park Shore Beach.

Officials of the City of Naples and Collier County declined to comment, claiming that they did not know anything about the project.

Nothing can be done. The deal is all set. All we can do is hope that the scenario will not be repeated in cities and towns across our nation. Meanwhile, we will be watching as work progresses on the project.

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